Leonard Cohen announced the official release date for his forthcoming album, You Want it Darker, on Wednesday, his 82nd birthday. The collection, produced by Cohen’s son Adam, will be out Oct. 21 and is currently available for preorder.
He also dropped the first single, the album’s title track, which, according to a release, “delves into an unflinching exploration of the religious mind.” Cohen enlisted the Montreal’s Cantor Gideon Zelermyer and the Shaar Hashomayim Synagogue Choir to create spooky, creeping backup vocals. A portion of the song appeared in this year’s Peaky Blinders on Netflix.
See a full track listing for You Want it Darker with commentary and choice lyrics from Cohen below.
1. “You Want It Darker”
Hypnotic groove. The surprise of a great synagogue choir. An unflinching exploration of the religious mind.
“Didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim.”
One of Cohen’s signature melodies. A confession of the selfishness of love and the hope of a correction.
“Only one of us was real—and that was me.”
3. “On the Level”
An old man’s take on desire.
“I was fighting with temptation, but I didn’t want to win”
4. “Leaving the Table”
A slow, relentless, and somehow joyous ballad of letting it all go by. A guitar solo you will remember.
“I’m leaving the table, I’m out of the game.”
5. “If I Didn’t Have Your Love”
A classic Cohen love song: the deep gratitude felt by one heart opening to another.
“That’s how broken it would be,
what the world would seem to me,
if I didn’t have your love to make it real.”
6. “Traveling Light”
A seeker hits the road and finds the joys of solitude.
“I’m traveling light
It’s au revoir
My once so bright
My fallen star”
7. “It Seemed the Better Way”
The feeling of a prayer that’s been there forever, but the spiritual comforts of the past no longer available.
“Lift this glass of blood, try to say the grace.”
8. “Steer Your Way”
A song of courage as the heart moves into the darkness.
“Steer your heart past the pain that is far more real than you.”
9. String Reprise/Treaty
A brilliant reimagining of “Treaty” as a string quartet; a truly glorious moment ending with a few words from Leonard himself.
“I wish there was a treaty we could sign.”